The Polite Times™
|A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.|
|Vol III, No 8||
President’s Corner – When we fall short of ideals
Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:
This month I offer up a little different topic: what happens to good manners, proper conduct, and our ideals of the 3 Cs (courtesy, compassion, and caring) when we find ourselves being “human” and blow it? What does that say about us, about what we strive to stand for? And, how are we to act when we know we’ve made a mistake – whether trivial or serious – and embarrassed, ignored, offended, or in some other way, hurt someone?
I would argue that we need to use the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way we want them to treat us.”
The problem is that violating the Golden Rule is likely what led us to commit the offense. Are we being hypocritical by espousing the concepts of kindness, consideration and compassion, and then breaking them?
The answer is, maybe. It depends on our motivations at the time we committed the offense. Were we willful about our actions? The law has a telling phrase about crimes committed “with malice aforethought.” It concerns intent. And, most of us, in committing a social “crime” really don’t mean to do ill. Problem is, we’re all human. We all fail at some time in our lives. Some of us are lucky to escape life with only a few scratches and bruises on our conscience while others have to contend with the equivalent damage to our character of broken bones and internal injuries.
The good news is that it’s not our failures that truly define us, but what we do with those failures.
The saying goes that true character is revealed not by what we do, but what we do about what we have done. So I would argue that when we fail – and it’s inevitable that we will! – we have to cling to the Golden Rule as the way out of the problem.
The remedy has to be carefully considered: if we were the offended party, how would we want to be treated? Would a direct apology make the “victim” feel better, or will it only add fuel to the fire? Usually our instincts say that we need to come clean in public, admit our mistake, and ask for forgiveness. While that may be appropriate for many situations, there may be some where following those instincts would only make matters worse. In those cases, we have to sacrifice our own needs and desires (using Caring!) for the needs of the injured party (Consideration). It makes it harder on us because we can’t confess and ask for redemption, but it is for the good of the other person that we subvert our own instincts of “falling on our sword” to the higher good of maintaining the dignity and well-being of the other person.
What I’m trying to say is that we all “blow it” from time to time. Maybe in small ways, sometimes in BIG ways. It doesn’t mean that we are not trying to live by the Golden Rule and that we should give up trying. It means we have to make amends as best we can – and maybe we can’t. There may be no “best solution” other than to learn from our experiences and try not to make the same mistake again.
If we used the Golden Rule, what counsel would we give to a good friend who had really “blown it?” Probably something like, “Ok, you made a big mistake. You try to make good on it. But, ultimately you have to forgive yourself and go on. Learn from it and don’t do it again.” Right?
The Golden Rule would encourage us to give ourselves the same consideration we’d give others. The Golden Rule in the mirror. If we can’t forgive others, how can we forgive ourselves?
And, vice versa.
This is a perfect segue to the holiday season when we often find ourselves, our friends, and relations behaving in very human and non-idealistic ways. I’d encourage us to get an early jump on the holidays and practice some of the very important virtues that we’ll need to get through them: patience, tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness.
It’s our humanity that humbles us. And our humanity that shapes us. Let’s be understanding of each others’ humanity and extend the olive branch to those that have wronged us, as we wish those we have wronged would do with us.
Thank you for your support and your comments! You can reach me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corinne Gregory, President & Founder
It’s that time again, folks! The holidays are coming! Depending on how things are around your home, this may either fill you with excitement…or with dread.
If it’s the latter, and that dread comes from all the social events that arise that time of year, never fear: the PoliteChild’s Holiday Manners program is coming again to a location near you! Plan now for a Happier and more Mannerly Holiday Season by joining us for this two-session Holiday Manners class.
This course will give your children the tools they need to graciously receive a gift, meet and greet new people, and more. Parents will learn tips on how to avoid the most common run-ins with their children and what to do in order to survive the holidays with grace and style. Here’s a class outline:
Join us for these two one-hour parent/child sessions. Light holiday refreshments and snacks will be provided to enhance the festive and fun mood.
With our solid and time-tested tips, we guarantee
you’ll have a more peaceful and joyous holiday season.
As of this writing, we have had over 3500 students enrolled in PoliteChild classes over the past 3 years. In that time, we’re proud to have an over 95% satisfaction rate as reported by those parents, teachers, and administrators.
Many of these parents go on to refer others to our program, and we think it’s about time we showed our appreciation for those referrals. We started offering an “Organizer’s Special” about 18 months ago that allowed parents to send a child free for each 5 they brought into a class they organized or helped develop. That’s great, but we think we can do even better!
Beginning this month, we will offer a referral bonus to parents who refer us to their friends, relatives, or other acquaintances. For each full-paying child that joins a PoliteChild class, a referring parent (ok…it doesn’t have to be just a parent…it can be a grandparent, another relative, or anyone who has sent – or has wanted to send – a child to one of our courses) will earn a $10 gift card to Target. Referrals will be awarded monthly, and in order to get credit we’ll need the following information:
Additionally, make sure that your referral mentions who referred them, or we may not realize that this is your referral. Many people have the same or similar names, so if Jane Jones signs up her son or daughter and doesn’t tell us that Mandy Martin referred her, we may not realize that this is the same Jane Jones you told us about!
Remember, The PoliteChild is all about starting a revolution of kindness, consideration, and compassion. And, we at PoliteChild should be the first ones to show our gratitude for the hundreds (and thousands now!) of parents who have recognized the importance of building strong social skills in their kids, and have been supporting our mission and spreading the word about the difference PoliteChild can make.
Our first referral bonuses will be due to be awarded at the end of November. Referrals help The PoliteChild put “civil back into civilization” and which ones of us couldn’t use a little bonus to use at Target around the holidays? Sounds like a win for us all!
Did you know that The PoliteChild has never had to advertise to gain business? We have had the amazing distinction developing most of our business through word-of-mouth and the reputation of our success.
Has your public or private school or organization had a terrific experience implementing The PoliteChild programs and you want to share your success with other schools in your area? We love it when schools, parents, educators, and others refer us to other organizations, and we are now instituting an official program to help show our appreciation in a way that benefits everyone.
Beginning this month we offer your school or organization one student “kit” for the licensed course of their choice free of charge for every two students that are licensed in the school into which you referred PoliteChild. This can add up to a substantial savings for subsequent years’ program costs because fewer student kits will need to be purchased that year as a result of the available referral credits that can be used to offset materials’ costs.
We also offer combined training for multiple schools within a general geographic region that are adopting our programs. This has the obvious advantage of saving all participating schools money since they can now share the cost of PoliteChild’s travel-related expenses, but we can also frequently offer additional savings by being able to produce our instructor materials in larger volumes.
To get credit for a school referral, please email us at
email@example.com with the complete name/address information about
the school or organization you are introducing, along with the specific name
and contact information about the person to whom you’ve spoken about us and
their area of interest. We’ll keep track of the referral and when they sign up,
we’ll contact you about how we can fulfill our referral bonus to you!
This training will prepare licensees for start of the New Year, and also allow them to take advantage of the holiday season and jump-start their businesses by offering the Holiday Manners program!
The retreat-style training will take place in Palm Desert, CA. The desert location provides an ideal spot for combining the intense training session with so many of the recreation opportunities and to take advantage of the qualities for which this area: the sun, sports such as golfing, tennis, swimming, and more! And, the training gives licensees ample opportunity to meet and get to know each other, network and compare notes, while they learn all about starting and growing their independent PoliteChild businesses.
Class size is limited to only 8 licensees so let us know if you intend to join us for this exciting course!
Teaching gratitude is a big part of our SocialSmarts™ course (and others!). At PoliteChild we start on the very first day, in the way we ask our students to say good bye. For example, we teach students to say “Good bye and thank you for having me in class.” Why “thank you?” Well, we like our kids to get in the habit of appreciating the interaction they’ve been part of. Why shouldn’t our kids thank the teacher? Too many of us take our education for granted, and it’s not a bad thing to realize that not everyone has the same opportunities for learning that we do. Our teachers give a lot of themselves, in the classroom and out – why shouldn’t we recognize that, and teach our kids to also?
So, have your kids think about what their “good bye and thank you” could be for: Thank you for having me to dinner. Thank you for my playdate. Thank you for coming over. Thank you for taking me to soccer practice. These little phrases may seem trivial, but they are a start. Have them consider that social interactions are gifts they receive and are part of – a gift of time and “presence” which is more precious these days than anything material. If you don’t believe that, think about what is more valuable to your child: some special “mommy” or “daddy” time, or a present?
Another thing is for our kids to consider the thought behind a gift or action, not just the “end result.” If our child receives a gift that isn’t totally perfect, what do we want them to do? We need to have them smile, and say “thank you!” There’s no need to go into any explanation of why the gift wasn’t exactly what they wanted…that would only hurt the giver’s feelings, right?
Practice this with your child: have them pretend to open a gift (you can even wrap a fake gift if you like, but make it a “positive” one first). Teach them to smile and say “thank you” in a very gracious way. Tell them that they should imagine that this is the one and only gift they will be getting for an occasion – and it’s the absolute perfect gift. After you’ve practiced this a few times, bring out another “gift” – this time it’s a not-so-perfect gift (how ‘bout wrapping up a rubber snake or something else “not so cool” for practice?), and see how your child reacts.
Hopefully, they will still treat the gift as though it was the most perfect gift they’ve ever received. If not, you probably need to practice some more.
What we explain to our students is that they should remember the motivation behind the gift. Generally, when people give us a gift, they don’t walk around thinking “gee, what can I get Jane that she really won’t like very much?” No, they try to get us a gift that we will genuinely like and appreciate. So tell your child that when Grandma Roberts bought them the yellow sweater, it was done out of love for the child, not that Grandma purposely bought a yellow sweater when she knew Jacob’s favorite color was red! And, we need to work with our kids to appreciate the motivations behind the gift, not just whether the gift met the expectations of our child.
It really should be the thought that counts, and we’d like our children to understand that and be grateful for what people give them and do for them. There’s no reason why our children can’t thank us for the everyday things we do for them – like being the family chauffeur, – but we have to teach them that. Of course, that means that we need to be good role models and make sure we are thanking the people in our lives who do for us, too!
Who is it that you could thank today? A spouse, a child,
a professional in your life? What do you think would happen if you picked up
the phone and called someone just to tell them you appreciated something they
did for you, or just appreciated them? I’ll bet it’d make their day,
and ours too, because gifts and appreciation have a way of coming back to the
giver! Let’s all beef up our gratitude skills, not just for the holidays, but
for all days!
The article in Nick Jr. Magazine is should be out in the November issue, due on newsstands sometime late-October.
Time Magazine – subscriber
issues, likely at the end of November or early December. On the topic of
cutting down on holiday materialism. Seattle Magazine
…and then there’s Entrepreneur….maybe it’ll be a
Christmas present we find under the tree?!
At PoliteChild, we always strive to come up with information for our newsletters that is interesting and relevant to you our readers. We’d love to get feedback on how we’re doing – are we meeting our readers’ needs?
Let us know if you’d like to see a specific topic addressed or if you have a question you’d like answered. We can keep it anonymous, of course – we wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone because that wouldn’t be polite.
But, if you have a topic on raising kids with better social skills, education reform, basic (or not-so-basic) manners or etiquette question, please drop us a line and we’ll look to feature it in an upcoming issue!
Our newest e-booklet, Party Manners Worth Celebrating is now available for download from the PoliteChild website. One of the most frequent topics parents (and the media!) question us about is how to improve your child’s conduct at one of their earliest social “appearances” – the birthday party.
To address the many questions we get about this topic The PoliteChild has created a handbook which is available to all our newsletter subscribers and the general public.
In the booklet, you’ll find answers to your birthday
party questions and cover topics such as:
You can get your very own copy of the Party Manners booklet right now for only $4.95.
To get your copy, go to http://www.politechild.com/store/pmwc.htm and follow the download instructions. We know you’ll find it to be a valuable resource for yourself, and even to share with your neighborhood, homeschool network, PTO, or other family/parenting group. We hope you enjoy your copy! And, we’d love to get any feedback you may have!